“What bat should my daughter swing?”
We hear this question almost every day. We also know there’s no shortage of opinions and theories floating around the softball world.
So which is right?
We’re addressing this age-old question with a series of short discussions to help you make an informed decision about what size and weight bat is right for your player.
Is lighter better?
There’s a popular theory that a lighter bat is a better bat, especially for the younger player. While there are some benefits to a lighter bat, there is always a trade off.
As the bat gets lighter, you lose mass that can help your player hit the ball harder. Think of it this way: If you’re in a wreck with a Mini Cooper, the damage is going to be a lot less than if you’re in a wreck with a tractor-trailer!!
This lack of mass really shows up when a player makes the transition from the 11- inch to 12-inch ball when they move from 10U to 12U and beyond. Many players who were killing the 11-inch ball see a huge drop off when they move up.
Have they forgotten how to hit? Probably not. But the same bat that had enough mass to drive the smaller ball just went from a tractor-trailer to a Mini Cooper.
We believe a player should swing the heaviest bat they can while still maintaining bat speed. There are tools (radar guns, bat speed meters, etc.) on the market to test bat speed. Many instructors use these to help their students work on increasing bat speed.
If you don’t have access to these tools, have your player hit a bunch of balls off a tee using bats of different weights. Measure the distance the balls travel with each weight. You’ll usually see a noticeable drop off when a bat becomes too heavy for your player.